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Science in Faith: Sustainability

Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science at Great St Mary's

As people of faith in the 21st century, engaging with science is more important than ever. At Great St Mary’s we understand this so much so that in August 2021 we were offered a grant by the ECLAS Project to develop education and information about sustainability in relation to science and religion. 


With humanity facing the triple planetary crises of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change, our project educates young people about how the solutions to these interconnected issues can be found through faith – as we look inwardly to ascertain how we ought to treat others and the planet, both now and in the future. If we are to achieve a sustainable, just world for humans and non-humans alike, we must engage with the science, not forgetting the duty we have to each other as God’s creation.

We strive to teach those around us community events, engaging in local schools through teaching and assembly and by sharing resources that you can share with your loved ones.

Our work is gratefully funded by the ECLAS Project and the Church Schools of Cambridge. ECLAS was born from the conviction that science is a gift from God, but that too often Christian leaders lack the confidence and tools to engage with scientific questions. To find out more about the ECLAS Project, and learn of some of the other projects around the UK they support, kindly head to their website by clicking the button below.

To see more on the Great St Mary's project and resources, please scroll down this page.

What we do

We want to make sure that the ideas shared here are communicated to different age groups in a way appropriate for them. Teaching must be engaging, science-based and interactive, and inspire further action outside of our work. This project aims to develop innovative science-based training for schools and adults concerning all components of sustainability. In particular, our resources and teaching focus on providing information about climate and human actions that lead to the spread of (a) bacterial disease because of anti-microbial resistance and (b) new viral diseases.

Teaching

We are present within the Church Schools of Cambridge giving lessons about faith and sustainability.

Children's Church

As part of Great St Mary's Children's Church, we provide craft activities, providing young children with hands-on ways on engaging with sustainability.

Free Resources

The resources that we share with our local community are free to use, and available for download online.

What is Sustainability?

What is sustainability and what has to be included in order that a human action or product is sustainable? In order to be sustained, which means to continue into the future, a product or action has to be accepted by the public around the world.

 

Humans are animals and, as in all religions, Christians teach that each person has a responsibility for how their actions affect other animals, plants and the whole environment. A system or procedure is sustainable if it is acceptable now and if its expected future effects are acceptable, in particular in relation to resource availability, consequences of functioning and morality of an action.

There are many components of sustainability, for example in food production:

  • Human welfare: human health

  • Human welfare: fair trade

  • Human welfare: preserve rural communities

  • Welfare of non-human animals: domestic and wild

  • World resources: efficiency of use

  • World resources: land area used

  • World resources: water quantity used

  • Greenhouse gas production

  • Water pollution/ N-P cycle disruption

  • Biodiversity

  • Carbon sequestration

  • Genetic modification

 

All of these can be scored so that different systems, products and actions can be compared.

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